A Creative DC is a weekly series showcasing all aspects of a creative lifestyle in the District. The city's full and part-time doers and makers, how + where they live, gather, and create, and what they do, make, and notice. Follow along here and at @aCreativeDC on Instagram, and hashtag your own DC lifestyle with #aCreativeDC. Your life looks good here.
My name is Sean MacPherson. I'm 34 years young and I grew up in Laurel, Maryland. I currently live in Columbia Heights, right down the street from my favorite bar in the whole world: Room 11
. I'm extremely lucky because not only is my "home away from home" within walking distance, but I also have the privilege of bartending there, and I've been doing so for almost 4 years now.
R E A L Q U I C K N O . 1
What are you watching on Netflix? I don't know how it took me so long to discover Archer but it's the funniest shit ever. I guess we're re-watching Parks and Recreation for the one hundredth time, and lately I've been falling asleep to that Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey show.
I started bartending about 7 or 8 years ago, but until I started at Room 11 I was just free-pouring whatever into a glass, hitting on the hostesses and getting trashed behind the bar. I credit Jess Woods, who is my current general manager and one of my best friends, for really making me realize the importance of service, and that if I wanted to be successful as a bartender then I needed to immerse myself in it.
I began studying everyday (and drinking a lot at night), messing around with different spirits, trying to take in everything and understand why certain ingredients work together, and how cocktails come about. I've also been able to learn a lot from other talented bartenders there: Dan Searing, Eddie Kim, Iris Ho and Gavin Pierce, not to mention the many bartenders who visit and sit on the other side of my bar.
Creating cocktails doesn't always come naturally for me and I'm always trying to find balance, or a "peak" for a flat drink and what-not. Actually, the really hard part is coming up with a clever name for the drink afterwards. In my case, this is usually inspired by mid-90s hip-hop music, supermodels, and Japanese horror movies. Our cocktail menu changes weekly at Room 11, so it's a fun challenge that's always keeping me on my toes.
R E A L Q U I C K N O . 2
Favorite name you've given a cocktail? It's hard to pick...It's a pretty personal and extremely ridiculous process for me but I try to have as much fun with it as possible. Bartending is the closest thing to an artistic outlet that I have in my life right now so it's really cool to when someone orders a drink that you've created by the name you've given it – even [ed: especially?!!] if that [someone] is somebody's grandmother and that drink is a Paloma variation named after a retired pornographic film actress.
More with Sean (plus two of his Winter cocktail recipes!), after the jump.
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Labels: a creative DC, food